Imagine if you had access to limitless data and brain power. What would you do?
Think Tanks are organizations which perform research and advise on topics concerning social policies, political strategies, economics, military decisions, technology, and culture. They have become increasingly influential, and have a growing position within policy decisions.As these organizations are non-profit, they receive funding from wealthy donors and corporations. Project Censored‘s article entitled Wealthy Donors and Corporations Set Think Tank’s Agendas takes a look at the very real possibility that these donors could be censoring these organizations and tailoring outcomes to their agendas.
There is no law that requires Think Tanks to release the identities of their donors. A report releasedin 2013 by FAIR (Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting) revealed that ournation’s top 25 think tanks have all received donations from wealthy individuals, organizations, foundations, and the government. Many of these think tanks require their staff to consult with their donors before publishing or forming policy, especially if it might upset them. Almost 2/3 of the top 25 have received money from big oil companies, like Exxon Mobile and Chevron, and many are funded by weapons manufacturers. The FAIR study also concluded that almost allof the think tanks appeared to be influenced by their donors.
These think tanks are a big part of our society and have a lot of interest. As non-profits, their funding must come from somewhere so it is only natural that it would come from organizations and individuals with money to spare. But what happens when these think tanks become more concerned with issues of self-interest, not national interest? If policy makers are relying on information that is skewed by personal interest they are not making a fully informed decision. I am sure that this is not regularly covered by the news as it is a controversial topic which is tainted by the wealth and power of high level organizations and influential people. However, this should be more prevalent as it influences policy within the United States and other nations. Can you imagine what the world would be like if all think tanks were unbiased and provided accurate and complete information?